Folk music has always had an underground presence. The genre formed by the accessibility of relatively affordable instruments, the human voice and the coming together of a lyrical content about the simpler aspects of life. However, I would knowingly place one finger in my ear and sing about folk music now being even more popular than VAR. Imagine. With robust folk clubs, greater media coverage including the annual folk awards and national & local radio: check out Henry Liston’s show on BBC West Midlands for instance…for folk’s sake!
Coming from the Midlands themselves the folk-infused duo Bluebyrd – Chris Rowley and Gareth Pask – have released an Ep, Roving Heart which celebrates some of their musical achievements from the first two albums. And you know what? There is no need to listen to the touch-line judge to understand why…
Understandably, Roving Heart opens the EP…with its desperately imploring opening and up-tempo melancholia reflecting the sense of “loss” of a partner that enjoys a capricious love life. Who hasn’t endured the sense of betrayal at the hands of a fickle partner? The lyrics may hint at the sadness of being side-lined but the ringing guitar chords suggest the misguided hope and misplaced folly of holding out for unrequited love. All complemented by a voice as vulnerable as a piece of fine English china in the centre of a bull ring.
Know a bullish bore that believes their central worth is greater than the sum of their parts?Not The Only Show In Town – with more than one or two barbed observations- holds a red card up to the individual who has allowed the Dunning- Kruger effect (it’s fascinating) to take over. The lyrical content offers acerbic damnation of someone (worth listening for the cheese analogy alone) who believes they are the centre of the universe.
The universal subject of getting lost along the way in life is at the centre of the musical thought-shower Find Your Way. The intro’s guitar notes fall like refreshing rain against the window pane as you stare back at your reflection. From here on inthe track chuggs along in a pedestrian manner much like our lives too – we can’t all have over ambitious five year plans? – as the questioning narrator attempts to make sense of the at times, nonsensical. Of course there are centre of the earth troughs along the way in life but also salutatory peaks and these are championed by the minimal horn section. Ultimately the song is positive in its message but the writer is the champion of pathos, concluding… “before we all disappear.”
As our “virtual” lives become more superficial, digital and throwaway our consequent fascination with folk art and traditional crafts has become increasingly centre stage – Sewing Bee?, Bake Off? Great Pottery Throw Down? – and lest we forget the Repair Shop that allows us to reminisce, admire the skill set of restorers and respond mawkishly to reborn artefacts from a bygone age. Ditto, this five song EP from Bluebyrd offers the chance to reflect, marvel at handmade tunes and grow sentimental over, well life itself. Bluebyrd may celebrate a musical genre that some will dismiss as old-fashioned but the up to date electronic hawk-eye is not required for clarification here as these songs are fettled, whittled and polished for the here and now.
By: The Swilgate Scuttler